Relationships cause ‘mental health problems for black people’

National survey finds almost 1 in 3 BAME people say relationships are the cause of mental ill-health

RESEARCH: National survey uncovers ethnic disparity in how relationship challenges affect people

A new survey has found that people from black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities suffer the most from mental health problems stemming from love and relationships.

Depression treatment specialists SmartTMS polled 2,200 people across the UK about their experiences of relationships and the impact on their mental health.

The initial focus was not on people from BAME backgrounds.

However, when the results were collated researchers noted a significant ethnic disparity.

“Valentine’s Day is often associated with joy, love and happiness, but for vast swathes of the population, this simply isn’t the case, particularly in the BAME community”

Gerard Barnes, CEO of Smart TMS

They found that almost 1 in 3 BAME people polled (31%) said that their relationships were the primary cause for their mental health challenges such as anxiety, stress and depression, compared with a 23% UK-wide average.

The research also found that over a quarter of BAME respondents – 26% – said they have never been able to maintain a healthy relationship due to issues with their mental health, compared with just 15% on average in the UK.

Across the whole survey more than 1 in 5 (22%) people in the UK today said they felt unable to talk to their partner about their mental health.

Unable to talk

Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem this year.

Responding to the scale of the probems NHS England recently revealed plans to spend £13 billion on mental health services in 2019/20 – 14% of local NHS funding allocations.

Gerard Barnes, CEO of Smart TMS said he hoped the survey’s findings would spark a debate on how to remove stigma surrounding the impact of relationships on mental health.

He said: “Valentine’s Day is often associated with joy, love and happiness, but for vast swathes of the population, this simply isn’t the case, particularly in the BAME community.

Breaking down stigmas

“For most, 14th February is a reason to celebrate with their partner, but for many, Valentine’s Day may simply be a contributing factor to their diminishing mental health. This has serious implications for people, their friends, family, colleagues and the health service, costing the UK economy nearly £35bn last year. That is why this research from Smart TMS is crucial in understanding the underlying causes of the UK’s mental health conditions.

The first Valentine’s Day of the decade is a great reason to open up about our mental health and break down stigmas associated with these disorders to create a happier and more supportive society.”

Barnes continued: “It is also imperative that more mental health provisions are made available, especially for individuals from the BAME community, who historically have had far less access to the services that they deserve.”

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